RVC: UK falls out of puppy-love with Westies

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Ownership of West Highland White Terriers has dramatically fallen to just a quarter of the numbers owned a decade ago, according to new research carried out by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

The discovery is surprising given that the breed, which is well-known for its dense white coat and cheeky face, has been a multiple Crufts winner and featured in various long-running advertising campaigns.

Academics on the RVC’s VetCompass programme have carried out the world’s largest study of Westies and found that the breed comprised only 0.43% of puppies born in 2015 compared to 1.69% of puppies born in 2004. The average age of the Westies studied was a relatively elderly 7.8 years, suggesting an ageing population with fewer new puppies entering the population compared to other breed studies carried out by VetCompass.

The researchers also identified the most common ailments suffered by Westies as well as most common causes of death. The most common disorders are dental disease (which affects 15.7% of Westies), ear disease (10.6%), overgrown nails (7.2%), allergic skin disorder (6.5%) and obesity (6.1%). Lower respiratory tract disease and cancer were the most common cause of death, with each accounting for 10.2% of deaths in the breed. Spinal cord disorders were the next biggest killer at 7.8%.

The study was based on the records of over 900,000 Westies who were under the care of first opinion practice veterinary clinics in the UK in 2016.

...follow the link to read the article in full on the RVC website...